A man has apologised in court for racially abusing Premier League footballer Ivan Toney online.
Antonio Neill, 24, of Blyth, Northumberland, admitted a charge of sending an offensive message.
In October, England and Brentford striker Toney, 26, shared an image of an abusive message he had received on Twitter and police investigated.
The message was described in court by a judge as "exceptionally offensive" and had "racial overtones".
District Judge Paul Currer, sitting at Newcastle Magistrates' Court, said he considered the matter to be "very serious".
Officers treated the incident as a hate crime and traced the message - which was not read out in court - to an address in North Shields, North Tyneside.
After the judge told Neill, of Robert Street, to return for sentencing on 30 March, the defendant said: "I'm sorry for what I said to Ivan [Toney].
"I'm disgusted and ashamed and want to become a better person."
Earlier, Kash Khan, mitigating, told the court Neill was "extremely remorseful" and had been under the influence of a "significant amount of alcohol".
Neill was living away from his family at the time in an area where he did not know people and "behaved in a way he would never dream of acting", his solicitor said.
The court was also told Neill's family had tried to extend an apology to Brentford before police became involved.